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There’s a difference between rest and reflection. Spoiler alert: You need both.

“Being a leader is not about production; it’s about being there for the people I lead, support, and serve. And I need to prepare myself to be a decent human being so that
I can be there for others and be approachable.”
– Andrew, Clear Harbor member

I have to exist as a human to show up at work. And when I show up as a cog and a machine, I feel the least fulfilled in my life.”
– Shannon, Clear Harbor member

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had many conversations about rest and reflection. We talked about why it’s important and how to fit it into our busy lives. The two quotes I shared above were from those conversations and examples of why we must find time to rest and reflect individually and in groups if we want to show up as leaders in our lives. 

Rest can happen when you reflect, but rest is not always reflection time. Sometimes the reflection piece gets left behind. We hear a lot about self-care and well-being on the topic of rest. But often, reflection is missing.

Leaders, in particular, need both rest and reflection to:

  • keep going,
  • keep leading, 
  • stay in their role (and lane), 
  • not burn out,  
  • make decisions, and 
  • recognize that pauses are necessary. 

Leaders need built-in time to reflect on themselves. The results? You avoid bringing knee-jerk reactions and your own bias to your team. We must reflect internally first before we can show up and lead a reflection with others. Reflection can bring you back to your why and passion and help you feel human. Time for reflection for yourself and then in groups is a critical tool for building a more equitable and inclusive workplace.

“Your goal is not to stick to a given schedule at all costs; it’s instead to maintain, at all times,
a thoughtful say in what you’re doing with your time.”
– Cal Newport, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

Most times, teams will retrospect at the end of a project by looking at how things went, what worked, what didn’t work, and what can be improved. But you can do this at any time as a team! Build those moments into groups in the arc of the process with reflection points to pause and observe. 

I build rest and reflection into meetings – we stop, take a breath, take a break, and look away from the screens and each other. We write on our own before we share in the group. These practices are critical when building your team and group processes. 

At times, I work with teams after they’ve missed opportunities to reflect – on the big picture or on cultural dynamics. They always had lots of work to complete but little time to reflect. The good news? It’s never too late to change this. We can find time to reflect. 

You CAN build in time to reflect starting now to avoid big crises and conflicts in the future. When you practice slowing down and reflecting now, you will remember how to do it in the middle of stressful moments and not leap into fast decision-making based on assumptions and stories. When we slow down and recognize our own biases, we change how we do things. That’s one step toward making our work more equitable and inclusive. 

This is one reason I created Clear Harbor for leaders – more here if you’re intrigued.
Clear Harbor is a built-in time for groups of people to reflect outside of the day-to-day pressures to respond.
It’s a commitment on your calendar to other people.
It’s a space to step back and reflect with a more significant viewpoint.

We not only show you it’s possible to build this into your workday, but we show you how.  

I promised you a list of ways to build in time for rest and reflection. You can grab the list here. Remember, this isn’t MY list. These thoughts and ideas are from friends, clients, colleagues, and maybe even from you. Browse the list and see if anything sparks your interest. Try a few of the ideas yourself.

How can you build reflection into your day?

Rheanna SmithThere’s a difference between rest and reflection. Spoiler alert: You need both.
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Keep your tank full

I feel sadness and worry, anger and fear as a new war begins, and the rights of trans kids and families, LGBTQ+ people and communities, and women are under attack.

When is it going to end?

“It” isn’t going to end. We must continue to get better at being in “it” and responding with peace, courage, resolve, resilience, joy, and outrage.

We need to maintain nourishing waters within.

You will need to keep your internal stores up to stay awake to others, your team, your responsibilities, and the struggle, traumas, and injustice around us.

What do I mean?

You have an internal storehouse of energy to draw from, and it needs reserves. You need to know you have the vitality to respond to your basic needs and solve problems. 

If subconsciously you know that you do not have enough energy to keep yourself and others needs plus your work afloat – parts of you will shut down. Your body and mind will shut parts of your operating system down to conserve the little energy you have left. The components that stop working well can include the part of you that can respond to the needs of others. And the parts of you that can vision, imagine, hope, and problem solve.

You may stop listening to the joys and pains of others when you feel parched.

You could stop listening to the joys of your life and the needs of yourself when you feel depleted.

Your strength is always in you. 

However, access is blocked.

Getting depleted can happen in two simple ways:

  • Not enough nourishment is coming into your system. 
  • There is a great strain on your being that is causing lots of output. 

There are two ways to enrich your soil, fill up your cup, and increase your stores.

Nourish your system.

Decrease the strain on your system.

It is simple and requires self-awareness, outside support, and letting go.

Use the check-in tool of “Tending, Tuning In, Checking In, & Changing” to find out what you can do to keep your energy flowing.

Please – so many of us are running on empty. Dear friend – take a moment to check in and give yourself what you need to restore. You are needed for the long haul. This journey is not over. However, we cannot keep going on empty.

Download this check-in tool here!

A note about decreasing the strain on your system:

There are times when you cannot do anything about what is straining you. These could be moments when tremendous caretaking of others is needed. Times of urgent, necessary deadlines. Times of significant change. Times of loss. Times of violence and trauma.

In these straining moments, you do the best you can do. You ask for support. And find the easiest, minimal ways to take care. You hold on. And give yourself as much love, space, and grace as possible.

P.S.
I wanted to share a poem and essay with you. My partner & beloved Roberto Ascalon was asked to re-imagine Seattle. It is a reminder of all we are experiencing in this time –loss, politics, the pandemic, racial reckonings, injustice, love. Also, it is a glimpse into our small family life during this big moment in time.

A few places you can take action and take care:

Grief practices From Valerie Kaur
Donate to Ukraine (from Valerie Kaur)
Support LGBTQ rights – ACLUHuman Rights Campaign

Rheanna SmithKeep your tank full
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Staying Awake to Others While Navigating Change

As a leader, the people you work with are the key – to creating and building something beautiful and enjoying the work you’re doing. Without people, without a team, the vision does not move forward. Many leaders I work with are working with people who care deeply and work hard. And they are tired and navigating change after unsettling change.

And, the leaders I work with are navigating personal and professional challenges daily. 

P.S. Everyone I work with is a leader because I follow this definition of leadership.*

It is easy to lose sight of how everyone around you is doing when you have so much to do. 

However, there can be detrimental impacts when you are not staying connected to your team, peers, and humans in your life. When we are not paying attention to those around us – we lose the warmth of human connection, love, and care. We lose the insights and visions offered up by different people who see the world and its opportunities differently than we do. We lose out on the potential to build a strong team or a thoughtful family. When we are not attending to our teams and people, relationships may end. We miss the chance to offer support, and we miss the opportunity to grow and learn.

I’ve had moments in my life and my business where I was feeling so overwhelmed that I did not take the time needed to care about the core people in my life. The memories of those moments cause an ache in my heart and belly. 

I am aware that: 

  • I was not living out my values, and 
  • I need to ensure that I do not get to the point of overwhelm that causes me to cut off connections to others.

I continue to work on this in my life. 

How do I live out my value of being in intentional, meaningful relationships with my partners, clients, community, and family while juggling the work of being a human?

Here is a check-in to help you stay connected to your team, the people you work with, and the people you care about in your personal life.
There are four areas to pay attention to 1. tending, 2. tuning, 3. checking in, and 4. changing.

Download this check-in tool here!

Give yourself a mini-audit. 

In your relationships, how are you tending, tuning in, checking in, and changing?

What is ONE thing you can do in ONE of the areas with a teammate or loved one?

No one person can do it all!

Of course, we cannot be connected to everyone on our team or in our community at all times. We need to make choices about who we are investing in and who are the critical relationships for us. And we need to be aware of how much time and capacity we have. It helps to write down who you are committed to being in the right relationship with. 

Others may be acquaintances and colleagues you invest less energy in but treat with respect. If you are in a formal leadership position, you will need to foster skills across your company to help everyone stay connected and check in with staff. 

(You know I am going to say this – but here’s a reminder – to be tuned in and awake to what is happening with others… you need to be awake to yourself and take care of yourself. If there is no energy left in your engine, these practices will be hard to do! Be on the lookout for more in March about staying awake to yourself!)


P.S. Here are some additional resources for Step 3 – Checking In:
4 essential human connections we all need right now
Simple ways to connect with each other, even virtually
How to stay open when you are ready to shut the conversation down
Tips for staying open & non-defensive in difficult conversations
5 Steps for Grounding During Instability
5 steps for grounding during instability pdf
2 questions that cut back the stress

* Vessel Consulting uses Brene Brown’s definition of leadership, “A leader is anyone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes and has the courage to develop that potential.”

Rheanna SmithStaying Awake to Others While Navigating Change
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How do we stay awake?

A while ago, I was on a call with Milagros Phillips that continues to reverberate in my body. (I have mentioned her work before – check out her work here.) Milagros was commenting on how different the calls she is leading about racial healing are at the end of 2021 compared to a year ago. A year ago, her zoom calls were packed. Each conversation had multiple screens of black, brown, and white faces, all tuning in to listen, learn, and talk about race and racism in the USA and our world. 

The call I tuned in to at the end of September (in response to the violence against Haitian refugees at the border) was a single screen of faces.  

Milagros Phillips said, “We must remain awake.”  

She reminded us that the most significant social change will come when a large group of us stays awake, continuing to recognize what is wrong and unjust in the world, and then speaks about it and takes action to increase justice. 

At the beginning of this new year – that perhaps does not feel so new.
I offer this as a reminder for all of us – to remain awake.  

I am not suggesting this from a place of punishment or to call any of us out.  

Instead, as you read this, see how you can ask yourself with kindness, “How am I remaining awake to the issues in our world that I want to improve?” 

How do we stay awake in the fight against racism? How do we stay awake in response to climate change? How do we stay awake in support of LGBTQ+ rights? How do we stay awake in support of our team’s and our community’s mental health and well-being?  How do we stay awake in support of workplace rights?  

Add your own question here: How do I stay awake… ? 

We need to remain awake to build a loving and just world.  

What does this mean – “to stay awake”?  

For me, it means that I do not shut out the real stories and experiences of people and the natural world. I hear them, and I listen, and I get curious. I let myself feel emotions.  

And when I can, I name what I am seeing. I talk about it with others.  

And I act by – changing my behavior, talking with others, voting, changing policies, organizing, building a different kind of business, donating money, volunteering. 

But if I am honest with you. I get tired. The days here are short, and the rain (and snow) is setting in. 

The news continues to show stories of systems built explicitly to cut groups off from their rights and humans carrying out acts of horror against other humans from a place of rage or numbness.  

We have been in a pandemic for almost two years. I, and countless others, have had people they love dearly die.

People are drudging through their days. Families are still caring for small children while working.  

How do you remain awake when you are tired? 

Perhaps you are very awake.  

Perhaps you live within identities and communities where you are reminded of injustices often. Maybe you were born with a heart and fire that does not let you stop seeing, naming, and acting to create an equitable world. 

And if this is you, perhaps you still find yourself in the quiet moments, tired. 

How do you rest while not falling into a state of numbness? 

I do not have all these answers. 
I am continuing to ask myself these questions. 

Honestly, my first step is still to remind myself that staying awake is essential for us as humans to build a more loving and just world. I am grateful to Milagros Phillips for her fervent reminder – we must find ways to stay awake. 
 

For me, I need to find ways to stay awake that are not dogmatic and perfectionistic. I have tried ways of staying in change-making work over the years bound by rigid rules, and I find myself becoming judgmental, burning bridges, and then burning out. However, if I become too gentle and focused on self-acceptance without fire and push, I slide back into a state of “self-care” that indulges my whiteness and other privileged positions. I need a balance of commitment, accountability, and care for my own well-being. 

Here are a few tools that are supporting me to stay awake and support more love and justice: 

  • Time alone to feel emotions and reflect (walks alone, meditation, movement) 
  • Being mindful of what I listen to and what information I take in (listening to diverse experiences in my podcasts, reading and listening to sources of news that fact check & give multiple perspectives) 
  • Bringing up what I am seeing and noticing and feeling in conversations 
  • Asking questions about what others see, know, and feel in conversations, and then trying to listen
  • Make my learnings and the change I want in the world reflected in the daily work I do (how I facilitate, whom I work with, how I build out projects) 
  • Connect and reconnect with the relationships in my life that are not insular (i.e., humans outside of my direct community, diverse because of parental status, profession, race, ethnicity, home country, etc.)
  • Take action with my feet, with my money, with my vote, with my voice, with the power and privileges I do have. (Here is a list of actions around racial justice.) 
  • Practice rest and reflection that brings rejuvenation, and not numbing (for me, this is dance, walking, books, baths. Here is a list you can draw on.  

Most importantly, I recognize when I am numbing out and disconnecting from the injustices and calls of the world and of my friends, family, and work team. And invite me back into the human family. I remind myself that I am strong enough to listen to the stories of loved ones and strangers who are experiencing suffering. I remind myself that I can act to be a part of the solution. And I am not alone, I am connected to imaginative, creative human beings fighting for a more just, loving world. 

I am glad to be with you, a fellow creative human working toward a more caring, just world. 

How are you caring for yourself when you are tired? 

How are you remaining awake? 


Resources to “stay awake” (also take care & rest):

Rheanna SmithHow do we stay awake?
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How to tap into more joy when you need it most

In these last days of summer, our house is full of family, people and things are everywhere. Plates of food with warm stone fruit next to plates of food with fried rice. People yelling each other’s names from across the tiny house. I am grateful and full of connection. 

Mind you, I am also an introvert, and I took a few days out alone, away from all my family before this next batch of sweetness arrived. I needed time to connect first to myself, to say “oh hello there Annie.” I needed time to be outside. My body and being need time near the water in stillness to recalibrate my inner compass. I am grateful for a supportive partner who did the household preparations for a month of family time so that I could have alone time. I am grateful for the moments we can be outside in the woods or near a river.

Now, in this house full of people from 80 to 4 years old, I am feeling joy. I am feeling the joy of good food, of laughter, of stories shared with our son. I am delighting in the feeling of creating a life with this wild family.

And when I was alone with my thoughts, books, and a shoreline, I felt joy. I felt the joy that comes when you notice the sound of water moving at the same time as a bird call. 

It is not all sunshine and ease, we’ve had major changes in life plans in the last month that caused stress. We are navigating the fires and the virus with apprehension and sadness. We are listening to the news from around the world and our own town – people navigating devastation and loss of life, lands, homes, and rights. We are fielding phone calls from friends and family about illnesses. 

This is to say – the connection is essential. Amid all the changes, and our own and other’s fights for a safer and more just world – we need to remember our connections to each other, to ourselves, to the natural world, to our experiences, our breaths, our stories, and the bigger picture.

And the connections lead to joy. And we all need joy. Joy is a reminder of delight and “aliveness” in the middle of the mess and the heartaches.

This week think about using connection as a source of joy.

What do you need to connect to right now to make a little room for joy?
Who do you need to connect to now?

Want to dive deeper into what joy can be and how to access it? Here is a quick video for you to go further into this practice and how to apply it even in a work setting.

Guess what? I asked a few amazing communities I am a part of what they do to build joy. The answers form an inspiring list you can use to build joy & connection into your life anytime – especially when you need it most. 

Get it here!

Want to share this joy-building list and video with a friend so you can inspire each other? Send them this link to share for free!


Looking for genuine connections in your professional life?
Clear Harbor is a community of fellow leaders who practice equity and make room for joy!

Get on the waitlist before the doors open in September.

Rheanna SmithHow to tap into more joy when you need it most
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How to make and maintain healthy connections

Are you finding yourself getting clearer right now on who you want to be in relationships with or what you need from the relationships around you?

As I begin to see friends and clients in person, I am acutely aware of what I missed, what I need, and what I want to offer. 

I know how important my connections are to the people in my life because of the distance we had to have between us. I am grateful for the connections in my life because of the immense support I received from colleagues, clients, friends, and family in the last year.

A few weeks ago, I offered you a check-in to assure your personal and professional connections are healthy and supportive on many fronts.

(In case you missed it here you go…)

Perhaps you have found yourself longing for connections in your life that are joyful, supportive, diverse, and value-aligned.

A reminder it is a lot to ask any one person to be all these things for you all the time! We need to continue to cultivate old and new relationships for our well-being.

Today I am giving you a quick set of reminders for how to make and maintain healthy connections in your professional and personal life. 

We can all use people in our lives who have our back, remind us of joy, support our learning, and ensure that we continue to become better versions of ourselves.

May your July bring you healthy new and old connections!

Has this note made you think of someone who supported you in the last year? Send them a quick text telling them you appreciate them!


Are you a leader committed to a more equitable and just world looking for a space away from your current work team to reflect, build relationships, and problem solve?

The next cohorts of Clear Harbor are opening in September! 
Get on the waitlist now before the doors open.

This year there will be two kinds of cohorts.
Cohorts for leaders with a high-level of decision-making authority and responsibility (job titles like CEO, ED and Director) AND cohorts for leaders who lead from within in their business or organization (any job title).

Wanting more support from a community of leaders committed to inclusion, equity, and anti-racism?

Jump on the waitlist and I will be in touch.

Rheanna SmithHow to make and maintain healthy connections
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4 essential human connections we all need right now

Connections to other humans keep us learning and growing.

Healthy human connections provide us with love and support (even in the workplace).

Our relationships to each other can increase our joy, fun, and happiness.

Social connections have been proven to help us regulate emotions, have higher empathy, reduce anxiety & depression and even improve our immune system.*

We need each other.

And we need more than one or two people in our lives.

We cannot be everything to everyone.

And no one person in our life, can be everything to you, or their family, or their work teams.

We need a diversity of social connections and interactions to be fed and keep going.

(Don’t worry fabulous introverts this doesn’t mean you have to be interacting all the time with a dozen other humans either!)

How can you have relationships around you that support your health, and growth as a human?

I made this quick “audit” for you to think about what your current connections are offering you (and you are offering them) and how to have an even greater level of support and joy from the different relationships in your life. 

Check out the video here:

May you have social connections around you that hold you up and support you in all parts of your life.



Looking for a new place to build supportive professional relationships?

Clear Harbor waitlist is now open!

Are you a leader committed to a more equitable and just world looking for a space away from your current work team to reflect, build relationships, and problem solve?

The next cohorts of Clear Harbor are opening in September! 

Get on the waitlist now to get more information when the doors open.

This year there will be two kinds of cohorts.
Cohorts for leaders with a high-level of decision-making authority and responsibility (job titles like CEO, ED and Director) AND cohorts for leaders who lead from within in their business or organization (any job title).

Wanting more support from a community of leaders committed to inclusion, equity, and anti-racism?

Jump on the waitlist and I will be in touch.

Rheanna Smith4 essential human connections we all need right now
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The first hug in a year

I gave my first hug to a friend I hadn’t hugged in over a year. I felt a mix of tenderness, joy, relief, sadness, and distance. The feelings surprised me. I expected sheer delight – I love this person SO much! Instead, I think the hug was exactly what is meant by the word bittersweet. 

I recognized something else in that hug and subsequent first hugs after. My feelings right now are different than I assumed. They are milder and murkier than I expect. I think this is because for the last year, I was not able to have many nuanced emotions.

My mind has been locked down tight. I was focused on attending to the safety and wellbeing of my family and the community. I watched Covid take people’s lives, wellbeing, and livelihood.  I witnessed the racial reckoning of our country with held breath and continued to find what I must do and undo professionally and personally to be a part of ending racism. I observed friends navigating hardships from a distance and did my best to send love. I supported clients in their huge lifts to carry on their missions.

This last year I felt sad, and angry. At times I felt grateful and glimmers of sweet joy. And that was it.

My focus was tight and that was necessary, but it had its repercussions.  

I did not make room for a larger reflection on what was missing.

My spectrum of thinking, feeling, and experiencing was constrained to attend to the immediacy of survival and to respond to immediate personal and societal concerns.

This is not a new thing for humans. We all close in our emotions, and perspective in our daily lives in moments of pressure, trauma, conflict, violence, and loss. 

As tender and quieter thoughts and emotions emerge, I can feel the shape of the cold, exterior container I built to get through the last year. I do not want to be in that container but I know it will take awhile to set it down.

I want to share with you the slow ways I am dancing with the re-emergence of a fuller spectrum of emotions and thoughts. (I am not a trauma-expert, so I am including other resources below.)

You can better see and support others in your work and life, if you tend to where you are emotionally, mentally, and even physically, in this transition.

Here is what is supporting me:

  • I am paying attention to how I am feeling in the moment.
  • I am moving at the speed I can and trying to understand what others may be feeling or experiencing (i.e. go at your own pace and support others in their own pace.)
  • I am building connections with people who can listen without judgement or shame and whom I can offer the same to.
  • I am reflecting alone with walks, movement, and writing. 
  • I am finding moments of appreciation, thinking “I appreciate this… I appreciate you for…” and then letting the appreciation sink in.

The cliff notes:

  • Notice your feelings.
  • Go at your own pace.
  • Know and understand other peoples’ pace.
  • Connect with others who can listen, and you can listen to.
  • Reflect alone.
  • Appreciate the people, moments, the things you can.

Reflection questions to go deeper alone or together:
– What have I been feeling about…
– What am I feeling now about…
– What do I need? What do you need?
– What am I experiencing right now?
– What do I want to take with me from last year?

May you have moments of real connection with others and with yourself this month.


Here are two guides from the past months to support in this continued time of transition:

5 steps for grounding during instability
How to prepare for reopening


Trauma, grief & tending to emotions – a mix of resources

People on Insta for support & resources:
@nedratawwab – Nedra Tawwab
@Alex_elle – alexandra elle

Websites
Self-compassion – Dr. Kristin Neff’s resources & meditations
Cloud Sangha – facilitated mindfulness groups, including groups for people of color and women
Spell for grief & letting go – adrienne maree brown

Movie
The Wisdom of Trauma movie – Dr. Gabor Mate

Books
The Body is not an apology, Sonya Renee Taylor
The Body keeps the score, Dr. van der Kolk
No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering, Thich Nhat Hanh
Walking each other home: Conversations on loving and dying, Ram Dass & Mirabai Bush
The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity, Nadine Burke Harris

Thank you to my social work colleagues for these resources! 
Have others I should include in my list? – Please send your recommendations.

Rheanna SmithThe first hug in a year
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Why I love meetings and how you can too

Meetings… there were already so many dreaded meetings. And now most of us are still doing meetings online with glitchy internet looking at little screens scrambling for a background that hides the messy dishes. (Just noticing do all my notes include dirty dishes… yes there are a lot of dirty dishes in my life!)

Guess what – I am one of those weird people who likes meetings!
I know, I know… it’s true. I built a whole business around being in meetings (small and even very large). And often it is with people I don’t know well. People who are trying to make a plan for the future of their work together.

And I love it!

Can I tell you why I love it?
(The secret can also help you enjoy a few more meetings.)

I love meetings because I get to learn more about other people and connect to their stories while moving forward critical, purpose-driven work.

These are my favorite things – being with people and moving a plan forward!

Good meetings do these two things almost always…

  1. Connect people – relationships are built, and people come away understanding other people’s stories and perspectives more than before.
  2. Move forward purpose-driven action – decisions are made, ideas are discussed, and people come away with meaningful tasks that move the whole group toward their purpose.

Double-check the meetings you are a part of. 
Do your meetings connect people and move forward action items?


Or do you have meetings that are:

  • just a download of someone’s agenda or priorities.
  • all about those next steps and action without any opportunity to build teamwork & relationship.
  • meandering and unclear.

Think through these two questions when planning the next meeting:

Is there 10-15 minutes for human connection?

Is there space to discuss, make decisions, and clearly set up next steps?

Want more on how to support your teams and move them toward action and connection? Let’s talk!

Rheanna SmithWhy I love meetings and how you can too
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The most essential processes for making teamwork WORK!

Sometimes we need an infusion of ideas and tools for the work we are already doing. 

I am going to get tactical right now and jump straight into it!

There are a few processes it is good to always use when you are working with a group.

Whether you are leading and supporting an Executive team in your business, organizing a school group to make changes in school policy to benefit all students, or co-facilitating a volunteer-led group for immigrant justice- these WILL make the work smoother (and more fun)!

Three essential processes ease the amount of work you are each doing, increase action, and even enjoyment, while you work together.

    A set of working agreements
    Have a set of agreements that guide your work together. 

    This can be as simple as two or three verbal agreements for how you want to act when you work together and how you will do your work. You can put these in writing and come back to them each year as a process of learning together and acknowledging what is working and what can be improved.

    An agreed-upon, known common purpose
    A clear outlined statement about why the group exists and the purpose of their work together. 

    I find most people in a group have different understandings of the purpose of the group and the larger mission or reason for the group’s existence. When the purpose is not clear, people will be less engaged, less collaborative, and more confused. 

    If you want a passionate group – create purpose together and come back to your purpose over and over.

    A clear decision-making process
    A process that outlines how major (and even minor) decisions are made and who is responsible for which decision. 

    Not everyone has to be a part of making every decision, but everyone should know who and how each decision is made. If you want to increase trust and create an inclusive team – discuss and document who makes what decisions and how. (Even better add clarity around how input can be given and what is done with input once it is given.)

These seem simple.

However, when the work is critical and there is much to be done – we can quickly lose sight of each of these processes. 

Check in real quick on a team project you are working on, and ask yourself:

  1. Do we have a set of agreements for how we want to work together? Do we all know what these agreements are?
  2. Do we know what the purpose of our team is? If asked, would we each of us give a different answer for why we exist as a team?
  3. Do we know how decisions are made and who makes what decisions? Have we discussed and documented who is responsible for each decision?

If you answered, yes – awesome you are set up to build a strong team. 

If you answered “sort of” – go back and find a way to answer and clarify as a group.
I promise you it will lead to more collaboration, more trust, and less stress!

Want more tips and tools for building a team you actually enjoy working with? Let’s talk!


Here is to all of us working together in collaborative, action-oriented teams!

Rheanna SmithThe most essential processes for making teamwork WORK!
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